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Posts Tagged extracurriculars

Negligence & Cool College Things

duylam-85Dear CSO readers & my blog,

I have fallen short of my aims to update this blog regularly. Perhaps you think I am a ghost and my experience is lackluster. Far from it. Okay, I’m just being a bit dramatic. But seriously, I do feel this tug of pain and guilt getting on this blog after it’s been so long. Well now that, that’s over, I’ve been doing a lot of things since college, as I’m sure my fellow scholars have.

College really opens a lot of doors for you, but this mainly depends on how you spin college. Some people just go to class, go back to their dorm/house, and just chill out, work, or whatever. But some people, go outrageous and join the School Spirit Club, Chi Omega, become a cheerleader, join SGA and become the president, and like just so much stuff. Honestly, I think the only limit on what college offers [academically and extracurriculars] is the extent of your wanting to do things and the imagination you have.

For me, Boston is just a mind blowing place. Amazing architecture, beautiful parks [Boston Commons is amazing], 2 dollar lo mein [check out Chinatown]. It has so much to offer for whatever you need. But there is also MIT, the Cambridge Coworking Center, and 9,120,3801,283 other things. Almost every single day of the week is filled with some sort of technology conference, energy conference, entrepreneurial panel, lecture, seminar, whatever. When I got here, believe that I was deeply moved by it all.

There will be many resources and opportunities that are offered, and trust me when I say you won’t be able to capitalize on all of them. Do as much as you can when you can, and I know for many of us, money can be an issue, but if you have the means to cover expenses I think you should definitely take whatever it is that comes your way. Hey I mean I’m going to New York this weekend to meet 700+ entrepreneurial people [no I really won't meet that many], and I’ll have the chance to present my business concept at the New York Stock Exchange. Not that bad right?

And that’s what college has given me so far, in a nutshell. Amazing people, even better connections, and the best cheapest lo mein I’ve ever eaten.

R.A.T.

seanna-85While I hope no one followed my example, my actual college application process was hectic.  I had everything in order theoretically…great grades…pretty test scores…more extracurricular and community service hours than I could list…I was in tip-top shape—ready for anything!  My I’s were dotted, and my T’s were crossed.  Only one more thing to do.  Apply.  As you’re reading this, you might be thinking that this was me around mid-November, early December at the latest.

Well…you’re wrong.  This was me on December 26th.  Regular decision deadlines for most schools in the country were January 1st.  Did I mention that my application process was hectic?  For four days, I thoroughly researched the 25-ish schools on my list and started finalizing details.  A mentor had to sit me down and say, “Pick 10 from this list, and send in the materials—you have to make your decisions…NOW!”  Obviously, I did make the decisions, and I did post-mark my apps by the deadline…however, it was still unnecessary stress that could have been avoided had I stopped procrastinating on FINALLY choosing my top schools.  By now your applications are in, so let’s discuss what I felt like afterwards.

Three words: relieved, anxious, and tired.

I was relieved that the formal process was done.  Now, all I could do was wait for the colleges to decide if I was a prospectively good fit for their school environment.  I’d passed the tests, made the grades, gave back to the community… now I could breathe a little.

IMPORTANT: THIS DOES NOT MEAN THAT YOU STOP EARNING GOOD GRADES OR WORKING HARD IN SCHOOL.  COLLEGES WILL LOOK AT YOUR LAST SEMESTER GRADES.  THEY CAN REVOKE SCHOLARSHIP MONEY, AND ACCEPTANCE DECISIONS.  BEWARE.

Now that I’ve given that piece of advice, back to my second feeling.  I felt anxious about getting the responses in the mail.  I liked something (or many things) about each school, and non-acceptance letters would feel like a personal rejection of me.  I was worried that I could have done better on the essays, and perhaps I didn’t “sell myself” correctly.

Tired because I’d been striving for perfection for six months…in and out of class.  Senior year can seem like a whirlwind of activities…I’d be lost in the next set of things to do without realizing that I’d finished the last ones.  Hopefully, your year hasn’t been like that too much.  However, I was tired, and I still had to find energy and enthusiasm to finish out the school year.

So, after waiting for a few months, I started receiving the college decisions in the mail.  My first acceptance letter was amazing…I can’t quite describe the feeling.  I was wanted…on a 4-year college campus.  For someone from a family who doesn’t pump out college graduates, this was something new…a goal apart from everything else I’d worked for.  All of the work…the stress…the time management…the effort…the tears and the struggling…it was all worth it.

So hat’s off to you for completing the applications.  Now…sit back…relax…you’ve got amazing things coming your way!

Climb High, Climb Far…TAKE RISKS!

lysa-85Hey guys! Frequently here at Williams I walk past Hopkins gate. Engraved on this passageway are these encouraging words:

“Climb High, Climb Far, Your Goal the Sky; Your Aim the Star”

These simple yet meanigful words, evoke just how important it is to strive beyond the best you can be. Therefore, I urge you all to consider applying to those schools, you figure are completely out of you’re reach. What’s the worst that could happen?

During my college application process my senior year, an admissions counselor once told me, you could have all “As,” perfect SATS, and be involved in  many extracurriculars at your school, but that is not what makes you stand apart from all the rest! I further learned that every year dozens of the “virtually same type of students” apply to the nation’s top universities with these very same qualities. And you know what? In all honesty, most of them are turned away!

Believe it or not, having good grades, good test scores, and trying to be involved in everything in high school may not even get you into an IVY or top school! 

I know when I was in high school I figured grades meant everything and that no college cared about my perspectives or anything else. However, when you apply to college the truth is quite the contrary. Colleges do want to know your struggles and how you’ve over come such obstacles. It’s not about how many times you may of fallen, but rather how you’ve picked yourself back up and made something positive out of a negative situaiton.

So don’t stress about your grades so much, or being voted the leader of every club or sport. Don’t hesitate to do something out of your comfort zone; something non-academic! Be unique; be bold, because that’s what will truly set you apart when you’re application reaches the admission office!

Remember when you write your application essays, that colleges respect an individual who can face the ups and downs in their lives, and realize that you are human! Try to personalize your essays so that they not only cover the topic you must write about, but also encompass something unique about yourself, your thoughts, or who you are as individual. DON’T BE JUST A NUMBER IN THE APPLICATION PROCESS, TRULY STAND OUT!

I myself, wrote my college essay on the corruption of the foster care and adoption systems in America. I tied my essay into my own experiences in foster care as a child, and how being adopted has impacted my life. I figured I was taking a chance with this topic, because not everyone is going to agree with you, but you must write about whatever lies close to your heart, because that’s what’s going make an impact, and truly stick in the minds of admissions officers when they are making their decisions of acceptance.

So don’t hold back, when writing you’re essays.  TAKE CHANCES! THE MOST UNIQUE STORIES AND THUS ESSAYS MAKE THE BEST ONES! If you need any advice on your college essays or just want someone to look it over for you, just email me, or post a comment. I would love to help you guys!Thats what we bloggers are here for, YOU!

Missing the Big Picture…

seanna-85Personally…the college process was daunting to say the least.  My dad never finished high school…my mom never made it to college.  Throughout school, my main focus had been getting high grades…extracurricular activities…establishing good relationships with teachers and peers…all the “normal” stuff.  When it was time to start applying to college, I had no clue where to start.  I’d done all the ground work, with no idea how to make the rest happen.

“Seanna…I don’t know what you’re worried about…any college would be lucky to have you…”

“You must be really excited…where are you applying…?”

“All that hard work is about to pay off…your mom must be so proud…!”

For months, the constant repetition of things that were supposed to be encouraging and motivating, only made me feel more confused and overwhelmed.   And while my mom was very proud, she was unable to help in many ways due to her lack of personal experience.  Oftentimes, neither of us knew the next appropriate step.

I didn’t realize that college fees could be waived, and that many schools only required either the ACT or SAT.  The prospect of applying for financial aid kept me up at night…I was in the proverbial tunnel with no light at the end.  And although there were plenty of counselors and mentors available to help, I felt that I should already know the answers…that I should not have to ask…

So here’s the big picture that I was missing…and here’s my advice to all those setting out with college applications…

You DO NOT have to know everything…asking questions is more than just okay…it really does help.  The people that offer assistance know what they’re talking about―the right steps to take, and even better…they WANT you to succeed!

Obviously, I did figure out the application process, managed to conquer my fear of financial aid, and even made a final decision!  So here I am, halfway through my first semester, and I realize now that allowing others to help from the start, rather than waiting until I was engulfed in essays and scores could have made the process much easier.

In fact, I’ve learned that reaching out is not a sign of weakness, but instead…a sign of strength.